GMG Radio’s Real Radio and Smooth Radio brands both saw slight increases in audience size over the last 12 months, giving the group an extra 219,000 listeners overall year-on-year.
Smooth saw decent audience rises in most regions where it appears on FM as well as digital radio, while a drop for Real in South Wales was cancelled out by an 18% increase in audience in Yorkshire.
Smooth Radio UK’s 3,317,000 weekly listeners puts the station up 8% – or 233,000 – compared with the reach this time last year. The brand still reports separate figures for each of the six areas of the country where it has regional and local licences – the West Midlands and Glasgow are both up 11% over the year, the North East is up 12%. The North West version is up 5% to 848,000 weekly listeners – the brand’s biggest market. Total hours are up by a quarter in Glasgow for Smooth, and up by a fifth in the North East where Smooth has 111,000 more weekly listeners than Sony Gold-winning sister station Real Radio North East.
In London, Smooth’s reach is down 3% year-on-year, while total hours are down a quarter to just over 3m now.
The main Real Radio brand (excluding Real XS) is up 1% in 12 months in terms of total reach, to 2.5m. The North East is down 11%, the North West down 2%, Scotland down 1% and South Wales down 11% (North Wales hasn’t been on air long enough to provide comparable year-on-year results). Real Radio Yorkshire’s highest reach in almost six years is the highlight for the brand this quarter – the audience is up 52,000 year-on-year to 386k.
Real XS in Scotland posted its second-best ever reach figures, meanwhile, but the Manchester rock station lost audience – its 122,000 reach is down 15% compared with this time last year.
GMG Radio says nearly 32% of Smooth’s listeners now tune in via a digital platform – nearly 1.06m a week.
Chief Executive Stuart Taylor said: “I’m delighted Smooth and Real are attracting more listeners when people are presented with an ever increasing number of entertainment options. Our multi-platform approach continues to deliver significant digital growth and almost 30% of listeners to a GMG Radio station are now tuning in via a digital platform. I am immensely proud of the dedication and commitment shown by our programming teams and this tops off a great week for GMG Radio following two Sony Radio Academy Gold Awards for our stations and the announcement of more nominations in the New York Festival and Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards.”